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South Slavic: June 26, 2003

26 June 2003, Volume 5, Number 18


Part V.

An interview on RFE/RL's Radio Most (Bridge) with prominent defense lawyer Rajko Danilovic by Branka Mihajlovic.

RFE/RL: Does it mean that the mafia had a state of their own within Serbia?

Rajko Danilovic: Exactly. That is not only a nice way to put it, it is also true.

The state leadership turned into bosses of criminal groups or gangs. The state became an organizer of political murders. No single civilized state has such an organized network.

This was achieved in two ways. While Jovica Stanisic was the head of the State Security Service -- creating political parties and [through them] ruling the roost in pluralist Serbia -- at the same time he organized criminals with State Security Service badges to kill and eliminate political opponents.

It started out with small fish, but eventually he went after bigger targets such as [former Serbian President] Ivan Stambolic and [opposition leader] Vuk Draskovic. Until Radomir Markovic's appointment to that post, real criminals with State Security Service badges were used.

Radomir Markovic introduced even uglier methods. A combined military and police unit was created, and one of its members' tasks was to liquidate the regime's political opponents. The unit was called the Red Berets or Special Operations Unit [JSO, which has since been dissolved].

But there are still many unsolved political murders: Zika Petrovic, Pavle Bulatovic, Zoran Todorovic, Radovan Stojcic, Slavko Curuvija, and many others.

RFE/RL: Has the issue of intelligence operatives in political life been dealt with completely?

Danilovic: I think not. They are playing games with us. [Josip] Broz [Tito] was the one who developed the intelligence services to perfection. Every republic and autonomous region used to have its own intelligence service, as well as the army and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

They used to spy on each other. It was a gray zone of political life. [Former Yugoslav President Slobodan] Milosevic went a step further by allowing the State Security Service to create political parties.

RFE/RL: Were [Aleksandar] Rankovic and [Stane] Dolanc the most powerful men ever in charge of the police?

Danilovic: Yes, for a while. One should not forget [Vladimir] Bakaric, too. When the Council for Protection of the Constitutional Order was created, he was the one who made decisions and had a strategic influence on operations.

The UDBA's [State Security Service] main job was to deal with political opponents. Politically incorrect opinion was a criminal offense. It made no difference whether it was expressed in speech or writing or not.

The diaspora was entirely under control. They were politically organized through many different old-time political organizations and structures, but they were controlled by the State Security Service.

Criminals were used to kill political opponents abroad. Milosevic's regime was not the one that invented political murders. That practice had been already established. Milosevic brought it home from abroad and expanded it on a grand scale. War crimes and state-sponsored terrorism were two sides of the same coin.

RFE/RL: Did you ever meet Stane Dolanc?

Danilovic: Yes, I knew him. It was, I think, the Eighth Congress [of the League of Communists] and the resolution on the reorganization of the Socialist Alliance was passed. Two members were chosen from every republic and one from every autonomous region for the federal executive committee.

Broz said that he wanted to create a strong party core to solve Yugoslavia's problems. The Slovenian candidates were two of the most prominent party men: Edvard Kardelj and Stane Kavcic. Kavcic was the most powerful politician in Slovenia. He agreed to join the committee only if it was going to become a serious policy-making body and not just window dressing.

That made Broz angry -- who was Kavcic to defy him? [So Dolanc got the job instead.] Stane Dolanc's term as a party secretary in Ljubljana was over and he had begun teaching preconscription training as an officer of the military intelligence [KOS].

He was the least important member of the committee. His job was to do all the necessary paperwork, organize the chauffeurs, and carry out other such tasks.

It was 1972 and Yugoslavia was on the verge of disintegration because of several burning issues. Many people turned their backs on Broz and did not want to clash with the powerful political leaders of other Yugoslav republics.

This is when Dolanc made himself useful to Broz by doing the worst jobs. He [eventually] took charge of the entire police network and became powerful indeed.

RFE/RL: What do you make of the lists of UDBA collaborators that have recently been published in Slovenia? (see "RFE/RL Balkan Report," 25 April 2003).

Danilovic: I am very skeptical about it. I fear there could be some sort of trick behind it. Some of those things might be true though.

Everything about the intelligence services is so complicated. They are still capable of mischief even when exposed to public scrutiny.

That is the difference between the intelligence services and the real police. The latter chase criminals and establish facts, whereas the former play games and tricks that could actually threaten the constitutional order....

RFE/RL: What guarantee do we have that the new regime will not abuse those services the same way?

Danilovic: Those services must be abolished. Services like those do not exist anymore in normal states. Intelligence agencies are needed for spying and dealing with terrorism, not with domestic political enemies.

They represent the dark side of politics and are a remnant of Broz's and Milosevic's regimes.... Intelligence people are needed, but for other things.

RFE/RL: The Serbian minister of the interior said, "You would be surprised to know who the onetime collaborators of the State Security Service were."

Danilovic: He told me that before he became minister. I replied that I would like to be surprised.

RFE/RL: Some collaborators of the State Security Service were among the founders of some political parties in the1990s.

Danilovic: One such man is Vojislav Seselj, who was an instigator of the assassination of Prime Minister [Zoran] Djindjic. It is also known that Seselj was a favorite of both the military and state security services, which provided him with all that he needed to play an important role on the political stage over the past 13 years.

Every single party had people whose task was not only to inform but also to cause trouble. This was a legacy of Broz's intelligence services.

Ceca Raznatovic was arrested [on 17 March], and immediately a lie was spread that she was beaten up. Intelligence services are responsible for that. They create confusion by telling lies....

There will be no normal, democratic, and pluralist political life in Serbia and Montenegro until that cancer is removed. Many people have accepted the various political murders as something legitimate. They regard it as normal that Milosevic ordered the murder of his political rival Ivan Stambolic.

That cannot be normal behavior, except for deranged, intolerant people full of hate. What can be legitimate about Milosevic's attempt to kill his political rival Vuk Draskovic and chase him all the way from the Ibarska highway to Budva?

It should come as no surprise that Milosevic was a mass murderer when he also killed his political opponents and was the boss of a criminal network.